MSI Advancement Awardees

The Marine Studies Initiative (MSI) Advancement Award will support cultivating transdisciplinary collaborations, including through focus on human dimensions of the ocean and coasts; expanding and enhancing educational opportunities at the coast; and further strengthening inclusive excellence in marine-related programs.

View the MSI Advancement Awardees and learn more about their projects below. (More bios & photos coming soon!)

Congratulations to the selected awardees for our 2021 MSI Advancement Award call!


Creative Coast Project

Leaders: Michael Boonstra and Andrew Myers

Creative Coast is a four-credit, five-day intensive experiential learning studio art course that focuses on the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, the Hatfield Marine Science Center and the surrounding Central Oregon Coast. The places will serve as outside studios and the people, history, ecology, and immediate sensory experiences the inspiration for creating site responsive artworks. Five days and four nights will be spent camping on site at Cape Perpetua, interacting and learning from the people and places associated with the area with the goal of creating artwork informed by these immediate site-based interactions. Guided by USFS rangers and others through talks and walks through the area, we will learn about and explore the unique ecosystems consisting of rocky intertidal zones and old growth forests, while also considering the history of human interaction with the landscape. Visiting artists, scholars and scientists will join us throughout the week.

As part of the experience, each student will produce a portfolio of site observations through sketches, photography, video, sound recording and/or writing as well as a final project. Final projects must use the landscape as a creative catalyst for idea generation and be suitable for presentation at the State of the Coast Conference the following fall.

This course is open to all creative disciplines including but not limited to: Studio art/photography/video, Music, Writing, Performance, Digital media.

Enhancing Student Engagement in Marine Studies Through Coastal Experiences

Leader: Francis Chan

Tribal Impacts from Outdoor Recreation in Marine Systems 

Leaders: Lara Jacobs and Ashley D'Antonio

Looking Through the Lens: Combing Community Science and Photography to Gain Insight on the Diets of Tufted Puffins and Other Marine Birds on the Oregon Coast

Leader: Rachael Orben

(Re)defining Coastal-Community Resilience for Post-Diaster Recovery Award 

Leader: Shawn Rowe

Contemporary understanding of coastal resilience is largely based on social and economic research in post-disaster contexts, both anthropogenic (e.g., oil spills) and non-anthropogenic (e.g., hurricanes, tsunamis, wildfire).  In 2018, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, where Puerto Rico experienced not only massive losses in agriculture and fisheries, but also significant damage to education infrastructure island wide, our team redesigned an existing service-learning course (BRR 399/599) over spring break in Puerto Rico to respond to needs identified by the community, university and school partners. We explicitly recruited URM undergraduate students from the MANNRS and SACNAS programs on campus and secured funding for supporting their participation. Leaders and students designed 6 needs-based projects in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico and local school partners. All activities were designed from the ground up to be inclusive of and provide opportunities for URM students in agriculture, science, engineering and education at OSU as well as to address serious need in Puerto Rican communities devasted by natural disaster. For 2022, we are again travelling to Puerto Rico for service learning and experiential education over the first week of summer term as a BRR 399/599 course, and we will be working directly with PR Sea Grant faculty, USDA Tropical Agriculture researchers, USDA Tropical Forest researchers, UPR Mayaguez Extension faculty and a local school in a course titled Stronger Together: Resilient Coastal Communities/Natural Resources Education for Island Nations. This project partners with MSI to fund MAST students, especially first-generation students from minoritized communities and groups, to participate by covering travel and program fees for two students.  

Diseases of Marine Mammals

Leader: Carla Schubiger

Incorporating Indigenous Youth into Knowledge of Apex Predator Ecology 

Leader: Jessica Shulte

Salmon play critical ecological roles in aquatic systems, transporting important nutrients to the rivers and forests where they were born and contributing billions of dollars to the region’s economy. For thousands of years, they have also played important roles in Native American cultures, impacting religion, livelihood, and cultural identity. Accordingly, salmon have been heavily managed to ensure viability of the stocks. However, despite measures to accurately model salmon populations, effects of sharks have been absent from these efforts. The broadnose sevengill shark (Notorynchus cepedianus; BSS) is a large, abundant apex predator in the marine ecosystems of the northern California Current System (NCCS). Though BSS likely exert significant ecosystem effects, their role in the NCCS has largely been overlooked —especially in relation to culturally and economically important fisheries. These results have direct consequences for management of coastal marine ecosystems, economics of coastal communities, and, in turn, on the native communities that rely on these factors.

As part of a comprehensive study researching BSS, Jess will work with indigenous youth to help remedy systematic deficiencies in understanding marine trophic dynamics from an indigenous art perspective while bringing shark research techniques to underrepresented communities that have cultural and economic ties to coastal ecosystems.

Pernot Microbiology Summer Camp to Visit and Engage with Scientists and Stakeholders at Hatfield Marine Station 

Leader: Rebecca Vega Thurber